The ‘Boys’ from Foreign Lands –: Who Proved to be #True Sons## of Mother India

Indradyumna Swami

Indradyumna Swami (IASTIndra-dyumna Svāmī) is an ISKCON Guru[1] and a sannyasi for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (popularly known as ISKCON or the Hare Krishnas).[2] He is a disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada[2][3] and is known for his traveling and preaching activities around the world,[3] especially in Poland.[3] Indradyumna Swami shares his experiences and realizations as a traveling monk in his journal The Diary of a Traveling Monk.[4]

Born as Brian Tibbitts on May 20, 1949, in Palo Alto, California.[4][5] He eventually joined the US Marines to stop the spread of communism in Vietnam; but a year later he was discharged as a conscientious objector.[4] In December 1971 he was initiated by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and given the name Indradyumna Dasa.[citation needed][6]

Indradyumna left the United States in 1972, journeying to Europe where he helped open new centers in France.[7] In 1979, when he was 29, he took a vow of lifelong dedication to missionary activities as a celibate monk, entering the renounced order of sannyasa as Indradyumna Swami.[4] In the early 1980s he served as the temple president at the New Mayapur château temple and farm near Châteauroux in France.[citation needed]

Among other international destinations in 2001 he headed up Food for Life‘s international relief effort to provide hot meals to 250,000[8] tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka.[9]

Indradyumna Swami has been involved in coordinating the annual Festival of India tour in Poland since 1990. The festivals seek to introduce people to India’s ancient cultural traditions through a feast of entertainment and education involving:[10] classical Indian dance performances, theatre with larger-than-life puppets, presentations on Vedic texts such as Bhagavad-gita, musical performances, graphic exhibits, stalls with books and handicrafts, vegetarian food. The events are attended by between 5,000 and 10,000 people at a time.[citation needed]

Since 1996, Indradyumna Swami and the Polish Festival of India team have participated in the Przystanek Woodstock free music festival organized over the first weekend in August each year by Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. Dubbed Europe’s largest annual open-air event, Przystanek Woodstock is attended by over 600,000 people each year. Within the mayhem of this setting Indradyumna Swami and the Festival of India team of more than 500 volunteers set up a spiritual sanctuary called “Krishna’s Village of Peace”.[11]

Indradyumna Swami has been writing his well-known “Diary of a Traveling Monk” since 1995. The series describes the adventures he experiences and the people he encounters while traveling. When he is not managing festivals, Indradyumna Swami interfaces with many spiritual and political leaders, including the Dalai Lama, the King of the Zulu Nation and the late Nelson Mandela.

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Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. He spent his youth wandering through disparate countries and cultures yearning for an experience of truth; after finally meeting his spiritual teacher in India he has spent the last 50 years internalising that spiritual practice and sharing it with others. He is not only a guide, but a community builder, activist, and a New York Times Best selling author. Rooted in his study of ancient India’s mystic devotional tradition, Radhanath Swami’s message is as profound as it is simple: by cultivating a rich inner life of self-awareness and a genuine practice of service, we can become instruments of compassion and agents of sustainable change in the world. 

Radhnanath Swami’s Journey

From a young American boy to one of India’s largest spiritual leaders

Born into a working-class family in Chicago, Radhanath Swami (born Richard Slavin) became an active participant in the civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He soon discovered, however, that social transformation begins with personal change, and at the age of 19 he embarked on a remarkable quest for meaning in life.

Arriving in India

This adventure, detailed in his memoir The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami (Mandala Publishing, 2010), took him hitch-hiking across Europe and the Middle East—through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and finally to India. There he lived as a wandering ascetic, first amongst the forest dwelling Himalayan yogis and later amongst a wide variety of gurus and spiritual practitioners throughout India and Nepal. Ultimately, he reached the inner sanctum of India’s mystic devotional tradition in the holy town of Vrindavan, where he found his spiritual teacher and his path amongst the Bhakti-yogis.

Meeting his teacher

After encountering hundreds of spiritual and religious leaders, he found the teacher he was looking for in A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In choosing Bhaktivedanta Swami as his guru, Radhanath Swami felt compelled to shave his matted locks and re-enter Western society with a mission to share the sacred wisdom he had received. This return exemplifies the form of devotional yoga which is at the heart of Radhanath Swami’s teachings, a spiritual practice expressed as tangible action meant to bring about personal fulfilment and benefit the world.

Radhanath Swami is a Spiritual Guide, Author and Activist

Radhanath Swami is the founder and co-ordinator of multiple spiritual communities throughout the world, the most prominent of which is the Radha-Gopinath Ashram located in Mumbai, India. Under his inspiration and guidance, the project has grown to include hospitals, orphanages, eco-friendly farms, schools, temples, emergency relief programs, and a food distribution program that feeds more than 1.2 million children in India every single day.

In spite of his many responsibilities, he also travels widely, teaching Eastern philosophy and spiritually throughout Europe, Asia, and America. He has been featured as a guest speaker in universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and Stanford, and in corporations such as HSBC, Microsoft, Facebook, Starbucks HQ, Google, Intel and Oracle, to name a few.

New York Times, Best-selling Author

Radhanath Swami has captured his epic journey to spiritual India in his best-selling autobiography, “The Journey Home.” He has also presented the teachings he has learnt in the last 50 years in his New York Times best-selling sequel, “The Journey Within.”

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Jayapataka Swami

Jayapataka Swami was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. His scholastic achievements led to an offer of a full scholarship by Brown University after his completion of high school. As a new student at Brown, Jayapataka Swami heard a guest lecturer speak on the life of Buddha. This inspired in him the desire to search for his spiritual teacher.

Having lost all interest in his studies, Jayapataka Swami deemed India to be the best destination to find this teacher. Before departing he came across a group of Hare Krishna devotees and became interested in sharing their practices. Shortly thereafter he visited the San Francisco ISKCON center where he helped to build a cart for the now world famous Ratha Yatra Festival. He joined ISKCON’s San Francisco center on Ratha Yatra day then traveled to Montreal to meet Srila Prabhupada immediately afterward. Srila Prabhupada welcomed him and spontaneously invited Jayapataka Swami to join him for lunch. He was so moved by his newly found teacher that he vigorously participated in the pioneering activities of the fledgling movement.

He received initiation from Srila Prabhuapda in Montreal, Canada in 1968 and two weeks later took over the post of president of ISKCON Montreal center. He helped open an ISKCON center in Toronto, then with Bhagavan Dasa helped open ISKCON’s center in Chicago. In 1970, Srila Prabhupada sent him to India where he served as president of the ISKCON Kolkata center. About a year and half later Srila Prabhupada sent him to Mayapur where he received sannyasa initiation. He and the other foundational team members were entrusted with the responsibility of developing Mayapur with Srila Prabhupada’s words “I have given you the kingdom of God. Now develop it and enjoy it.” Mayapur’s current state of development stands testimony to Jayapataka Swami’s untiring efforts over the last four decades, along with the able assistance of other dedicated followers of Srila Prabhupada.

At the time of his departure from this mortal world in 1977, Srila Prabhupada requested Jayapataka Swami to take up the responsibility of being an initiating spiritual master and to act as one of ISKCON’s governing body commissioners. Since then Jayapataka Swami has been executing these responsibilities.

During his initial time in Mayapur, West Bengal, Jayapataka Swami learned the Bengali language and was one of the few Western devotees to obtain Indian citizenship. His activities have included distribution of BBT books, temple construction, agricultural development, cultivating new members in the cities and villages, schools and colleges and organizing large events to share Krishna consciousness, which have included thousands of participants in attendance. Other notable achievements are the establishment of the Food For Life program in rural Bengal, the organization of large-scale pilgrimages for Western devotees and his service as chairman of Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust, which was established by Srila Prabhupada to renovate Gaudiya Vaishnava temples and maintain ancient sites in the holy lands. Jayapataka Swami has found time for book translation amidst his multifarious activities. He has translated Vaishnava Ke, Vrindavan Bhajan and Godruma Kalpatavi.

Jayapataka Swami continues to contribute to Mayapur’s development as the International Headquarters of ISKCON by serving as a co-director. His service in Mayapur includes: Mayapur Development Committee member, Exhibits and Theme park Department Head of TOVP, and promotion of Sri Mayapur worldwide. He is currently a GBC representative, zonal secretary and co-secretary for: Comoros, Seychelles, Jordan, Yemen, the State of Orissa and Puri; Assam, Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Bhutan, the State of West Bengal, Meghalaya, Tripura, Kerala, the State of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bangalore, Lakshadweep, Maldives, Pondicherry, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Thailand, Bolivia, Peru, Bangladesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Nepal, Sikkim, Brunei, Malaysia, Belgaum, Ecuador and Chile. He is also a member of ISKCON India Bureau.

Jayapataka Swami serves on the following GBC committees: Organizational Development, Devotee Care, Outreach, Mayapur Festival, Deity worship handbook and Puri Development Committee.

He is the co-minister of Congregational Development Ministry along with Kaunteya Dasa.

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